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(Chancery Division, Newey J, 23 February 2012)
The husband and wife, US citizens, had settled in London prior to the husband’s death. The husband had substantial assets in the USA and the UK and when he died a solicitor friend of the family was appointed as deputy for the wife and as an administrator for the estate.
When the wife was moved to Nevada a woman was appointed as the wife’s general guardian in the USA. After the English deputy ran up costs of approximately £1.5m in relation to the deputyship and the administration of the estate the American guardian sought to replace the solicitor as deputy, supported by the wife’s two daughters who claimed to have lost confidence in the solicitor.
The court dismissed the application. The decision to replace the deputy must be taken in the best interests of the wife and that was not the case here. The solicitor was more qualified than the guardian, the appointment of a new deputy would be costly in terms of time and money and while the solicitor’s fees were high they were not manifestly excessive.